Does Renters Insurance Water Backup Cover Washing Machines?
And what is water backup coverage on renters insurance, anyway? The answer to both questions lies in the HO-208 endorsement. This endorsement modifies the standard policy form to include coverage for “water backup and sump discharge or overflow.” But what does that mean in the real world? And does it cover washing machines? Let’s take that endorsement apart and find out.
“We insure, up to the limit of liability…for this coverage for direct physical loss not caused by the negligence of an insured, to property covered under Section I caused by water or water-borne material, which… backs up through sewers or drains…”
One piece at a time.
Up To The Limit Of Liability For This Coverage
There is a separate limit, often $5,000 though it may vary, for renters insurance water backup coverage that is shown on your declarations page. Since this coverage is excluded from the main policy form and covered only by this additional endorsement, you’ll find that the coverage listed for the HO-208 endorsement is the only coverage that you have for water backup.
Not Caused By The Negligence Of An Insured
Fairly straightforward. If you ignore the fact that you have to plunge your toilet every single time you flush it and don’t bother to call your apartment maintenance, that’s on you because you knew or should have known that there was a problem and that the problem would escalate. On the other hand, sudden and accidental events are what insurance is designed to cover so if it’s one of those types of scenarios, renters insurance water backup is there to help you. If you flush the toilet and walk away because it’s always worked before, that’s not likely to be considered your negligence – you have a reasonable expectation that the toilet will “just work” and no reason to watch over it to make sure.
To Property Covered Under Section I
This coverage applies specifically to your property, which is insured under the policy. Section I is property coverage, specifically your property. If the property is excluded under the policy or has a sublimit, such as a ten foot high stack of cash, you might have difficulty with coverage but any property you could expect to be covered under the policy would fall under this water backup renters insurance coverage, subject to the remainder of the endorsement.
Caused By Water Or Water-Borne Material
The renters insurance water backup endorsement is designed to cover… Well, you can probably infer that it’s designed to cover backup of water. Given the nature of “sewers or drains”, the endorsement is extended to cover “water-borne” material. The coverage wouldn’t be very useful if it only covered damage to property caused by the water itself, but not damage caused by materials in or upon the water. That’s where most of the significant damage would be likely to come from, and the endorsement would cover those damages. We’ll spare you a specific analysis of what “water-borne material” has been held to mean, as it’s fairly likely you can fill in that blank on your own.
Which Backs Up Through Sewers Or Drains
And now we come to the meat of the matter: Does renters insurance water backup cover washing machines? Insurance is rarely literal, and can rarely be taken word for word without context. In this context, let’s look at what a sewer or drain is. If it’s an outflow pipe that should be worked on by a maintenance employee or a licensed plumber, it likely qualifies. Where does you washing machine drain into? An outflow pipe generally rising within the wall or from the floor, into which the hose drains. That qualifies it as a drain, and it’s attached to a sewer.
If your washing machine were to somehow send a massive ball of lint through the hose and it lodged in the drain pipe, that would cause the pipe to overflow. It’s not generally unreasonable to set a load of clothes washing before you head out to run errands, so you might not be aware of the problem even if you’re not negligent. If you put clothes in the washer and went out to your balcony to enjoy the summer breeze for a few minutes and wait for the washer to finish, that’s not unreasonable either. Just like a toilet, a washing machine is something that does not generally require supervision and therefore you turning it on and walking away isn’t generally considered to be negligent, it’s just a part of daily life.
Generally speaking, you’d be covered for damage to your personal property resulting from a washing machine with a clogged drain. Arguably, that may extend to the hose that goes into the drain, thought that’s a separate matter and may or may not involve negligence on the part of the insured. The latter is quite fact dependent, but if the drain which is part of your apartment overflows, renters insurance water backup is likely to cover you.
Renters insurance water backup coverage can protect you from a variety of risks, including the risk of water backup from washing machines. It’s important to understand the coverage you have, why you need it, and how it protects you. If you still have questions, it’s time to reach out to the insurance experts for renters. All you have to do is call (800)892-4308 or click to get covered - whether you need renters insurance quotes online or coverage anywhere else!
Effective Coverage offers the nation's only completely mobile platform to quote and purchase renters insurance right from your phone or tablet in just one minute. Get an online renters insurance quote today and protect your family.